Fortinet issued an advisory reminding online shoppers and bargain hunters to stay vigilant against cybercriminals during the Festive online shopping season. Currently, there are multiple e-commerce portals conducting online says in advent of the festive season of October. E-commerce firms generate a majority of their annual sales during the festive Diwali season as 20 Million shoppers are expected to purchase online.
“As our ability to purchase, make online transactions and connect through smart devices gets easier, we need to understand that these conveniences come with risks. Cybercriminals are determined and informed on the latest trends and know how to exploit them. So, it is no surprise that during the festive season when users spend a significant amount of time shopping and conducting financial transactions their devices are more likely to be targeted by cybercriminals than ever.” said Rajesh Maurya, Regional Vice President, India and SAARC, Fortinet.
According to a RedSeer Consulting report the gross merchandise value (GMV) generated in India’s e-commerce business during Diwali stood at $ 3 billion in 2018. The usage of debit cards and credit cards is the highest during the season due to multiple offers in partnerships with banks. Wallets and new affordability options introduced by the e-tailers also increase the usage of online payment methods during this festive season.
With 75.8 %, India tops mobile shoppers in APAC countries, with users having made at least one purchase through their mobile phones in the three months preceding the Mastercard’s Mobile Shopping Survey (2017).
Tips from Fortinet for shoppers to stay safe during the festive online shopping season
- Be careful how you connect to the Internet: Avoid using Public Wi-Fi as they are a haven for criminals looking to intercept your connection and use it to steal passwords, banking or credit card information, and other personal data. Even if you are connected to a legitimate access point, make sure that the sites you are visiting are protected using SSL, or consider using a VPN service to protect your transactions.
- Manage your mobile devices: Modern phones always actively search for the wireless you usually connect to. But there are tools available to cybercriminals that can detect the wireless access points your phone is searching for and then pretend to be one of them. When you are away from home always disable the automatic Wi-Fi connect service on your phone or devices.
- Download legitimate apps from legitimate websites: Mobile devices running on Android OS are a growing target for cybercriminals. We recommend downloading apps only from official sites and never allow installations from “unknown sources”. Also download a security tool from a legitimate app store and scan your mobile device regularly.
- Think twice before shopping at an unfamiliar online site: If you are shopping at an unfamiliar online site follow some basics to protect yourself and your assets:
- Before clicking on a link, hover the mouse over it to check the URL. If it replaces letters with numbers, such as amaz0n.com don’t click on it.
- Enter the name of the site into your search engine to see if anyone has complained about it and go directly to the site rather than clicking on the link.
- If the site looks unprofessional, has lot of popups, bad grammar, unclear descriptions and misspelled words the site is probably not legitimate.
- Double check sites offering merchandises at unbelievably low prices as it could be a front to collect your credit/debit card information.
- Before shopping check the payment mode. Avoid sites that require direct payments from your bank, wire transfers, or untraceable forms of payment.
- Use your credit card and not your debit card to make a purchase as most credit cards have built-in fraud protection and are not directly connected to your savings account.